Spying scandal looms over Brazilian leader's planned U.S. visit

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's scheduled state visit to the United States may be in jeopardy after revelations that Washington spied on her, an official source told Efe.

"The next steps will decide" whether Rousseff travels to Washington next month as planned, the source said.

The U.S. National Security Agency intercepted telephone calls and e-mails of Rousseff and Mexican leader Enrique Peña Nieto, Brazil's Globo television said this week, citing documents from whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

NSA's targeting of Rousseff "clearly exceeded the limit of the struggle against terrorism," Brazilian Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardoso said, referring to Washington's public rationale for pervasive global surveillance.


Spain has best August jobs performance in 13 years

The number of registered unemployed people in Spain fell to 4.69 million in August, dropping for the sixth straight month, the Employment and Social Security Ministry said.

Registered unemployment had not dropped in August, a month that is traditionally bad for the labor market because summer season employment contracts expire, since 2000.

The number of registered unemployed people rose by 38,179 in August 2012, while it fell by 31 last month.

Spain has been mired in a deep recession since 2008 due to the financial crisis caused by the bursting of the real estate bubble.


Mexico urged to free jailed journalists

Reporters Without Borders urged Mexican authorities to release four journalists arrested while covering a protest against President Enrique Peña Nieto's education overhaul.

"We call for the immediate release of these four journalists and the withdrawal of the charges against them," the Paris-based group, known by the initials RSF, said in a statement.

"Their only crime was trying to do their duty as reporters and guarantee the public's right to information," RSF said of Gustavo Ruiz Lizarraga, Pavel Alejandro Primo Noriega, Estela Morales and Alejandro Amado Fraustro.


U.N. alert to possible refugee surge from strikes on Syria

The number of people fleeing Syria due to the civil war that broke out in March 2011 stands at more than 2 million, the U.N. Refugee Agency said, acknowledging plans to deal with a possible surge in refugees as Washington mulls military strikes to punish the Assad regime for the alleged use of chemical weapons.

But the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, declined to directly address the issue of potential U.S. intervention.

"We have a contingency plan for an increase in refugees, whatever the cause," he told reporters at a press conference in Geneva. "We all need to be prepared for things to get worse before they get better."


Messi lends support to Madrid's Olympic bid

Argentine soccer star Leo Messi spoke out here in favor of Madrid's application to host the 2020 Olympics.

"I believe it would be good for sport if Madrid prevails. Not just for what it is as a city, but also for the first-class athletes Spain has," the man many consider the world's best soccer player told Efe.

Messi, who plays professionally for FC Barcelona, met with the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco, at the installations of the Argentine soccer association after flying into Buenos Aires from Spain.

The striker donned a Madrid 2020 shirt and joined Blanco in front of reporters. "Leo never refused to support Madrid's candidacy," Blanco said, seeking to silence complaints about Messi's absence from a video promoting the Spanish capital's bid for the 2020 Summer Games.


Spain's Robredo knocks out Federer, sets up showdown with Nadal at U.S. Open

Spain's Tommy Robredo defeated Switzerland's Roger Federer 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-4 in the round of 16 at the U.S. Open, setting up a showdown with countryman Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.

Nadal beat Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

David Ferrer, a semifinalist in 2012, beat Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) on Monday, crowning a stupendous session for Spanish tennis.

The 31-year-old Robredo, who went into his match with a career record of 0-10 against Federer, played the match of his life.